The last match of Ashes 2009 and England so needed their canons to fire, to an extent they did – Bell, Strauss and the rookie J. Trott came good – but in the end it wasn’t enough for them to keep the now legendary Australian fightback at bay. At the stumps on day one, England would consider their efforts slightly under par for the start they got at 2/170 during second session.
England stand giving away their best chance of rubbing Ponting’s nose into the Oval dirt if they fail to come up with a stellar bowling display tomorrow morning to make sure that the Aussies bat twice on this pitch, which doesn’t look to be very loyal to the batsmen from what I have followed.
At 8/307 it looks fairly balanced and considering the Kangaroos have to bat last (if they do not manage a huge lead in the first innings) the English are slightly ahead.
I was reading one of the interviews of M. Vaughan <http://www.cricinfo.com/engvaus2009/content/current/story/420340.html> wherein he has shed some light on his handling of the immense talent that is ‘Freddy’ Flintoff.
The views expressed therein may evoke different reactions from the fans and general public, however, it can not be denied that Flintoff has not looked as hungry and menacing on the field since ‘the Man of the Series’ performance of the 2005 epic Ashes battle.
His take on the importance of individual brilliance in a team sport is also notable. Somewhere he drops the lines regarding the composition of a great teams which are served very well by having great names but also require a solid support of the other team members.
The greats can not achieve victories one after the other just on their own. The Don was a part of ‘the invincibles’ which had many aces like Miller (whom Ian Chapel oftentimes likens to Sehwag in attitude toward the game – in general and batting in particular – and talent, speaks volumes about his place in that team <this is referred to give the idea of the devastation he could bring with typical nonchalance to the opposition on his day>), Hassett, Morris, Tallon (considered by many as the finest Aussie wicketkeeper of all time), Harvey, Lindwall, Barnes (greats in their own right) plus the rest of the team-mates – Loxton, Brown et al – performing in every match trying to outshine everything but the mighty Sun.
India, Pakistan and West Indies (of Lara era) come to mind readily in this context — These teams never had a dearth (currently the first two) of individual genius and star power, yet they managed to pull off mediocre statistics over the years. — I reckon that’s where Vaughan is coming from, of course his immediate premises is England team under him and his handling of resources pertinent to the campaigns undertaken.
Freddy has already achieved greatness in an era where the classical form of the game is under siege from every quarter. The days are not far when we shall see Test careers ending in 50 matches or thereabouts… Considering this and what he has achieved for a team that hasn’t seen a champion since the great Sir Ian T. Botham, OBE; he’s my pick for all-time England XI along with Strauss and KP from the current lot.
Coming to Athletics, the unprecedented and the historic has happened on the track during the last 24 hours and I just pray it doesn’t have any abrupt halts to it. Usain Bolt of Jamaica has chosen the world stage to come good and set the records straight, yet again. These are once in a lifetime performances that drive entire generations with them. I hope there’s nothing more to the various stories doing rounds than wild speculations.
Boy! 19.19 sec. for 200 mtr. and 9.58 sec. for 100 mtr. bettering the earlier (held by self) records by a whopping 0.11 sec should overwhelm anybody. For a feel of the magnitude of his achievement please read <http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/athletics/bolt-blitzes-200m-world-record-1775191.html>. Archer boy, I have faith in your “I am clean.” statement.
Bolt and Flintoff round it off for me today, sports would prosper as long as characters like these keep enlivening the arenas. Carry on Gladiators.